The moment an idea is put into shape is a deeply fragile act. The time between the development of such an idea, as well as its realisation, is even more fragile. I wanted to source a suitable visual image capable of translating this process, to conceptualise a moving and still image. I decided to choose a piece of clothing that is repeatedly thrown into the photographic frame. Some of my ideas are of a rather complex nature and not as precisely shaped and finely tuned as the final piece. Like with this piece of clothing seen here. It is a bit blurred. I try to seize the idea before its logic gradually dissipates. I use the moving image as a technique to capture the strikingly brief moment into a photograph by releasing the shutter whilst filming. The moving image opens and becomes frozen in time. The dress almost becomes an indefinite sculpture; the body of a transient idea. A new moment is generated and the photograph develops a life of its own in the world. The static of the image determines the experience of time in a photograph. This is also the case for an image on a computer screen or on a projected image.
I repeat the action of throwing the piece of clothing, freezing it within time. It appears liberated of gravity but the exact same shape can never be attained because in its framework it is casual, to a certain extent. So is this reality? The same moment that never occurs exactly twice? We can get very close to repeat a moment intentionally but it is never "the same". On the other hand, when something occurs and resembles a moment we already know, we have this impression of déjà-vu and remain dazzled or astonished by it. So then, I would say that as a photographer, I have a mental model but I do not really know what the final picture will look like and this is what captures the focus of my attention. It is the un-known, the indefinite, that attracts me because it has to be discovered. I lose interest in ideas and concepts that crop up and are thought to end very quickly. They die in my mind as quickly as they were born, before even being uttered. I don't feel the necessity to even put them into practice.
Steven Shore states that when he takes a photograph his perceptions feed into his mental model. His model adjusts to accommodate his perceptions. There is a mutual relationship between mental modelling and perceptions. This modelling adjustment alters in turn, with perception. And so on and so forth. It is a dynamic self-modifying process. It is a complex, ongoing understanding; imagination and intention.
To express the moulding and forming of an idea as its final shape, I use the term of Unknown Knowns. I refer to things that we do not know we know, the knowledge which doesn't know itself and this is precisely the Freudian unconscious. In contrast to Lacan who uses the term for a "symbolically articulated knowledge ignored by the subject", I see it more as a pre-logical space of instincts that contribute in putting into shape our mental model. So the outcome is always something we finally know and can define.
I experienced this interplay of unconscious consciousness also in drawing. The moment you are immersed within the act of drawing and lose the consciousness of the act of drawing itself, a certain automation occurs – I refer to a mechanical act here. The instinct tells you this is leading somewhere promising. As soon as you get back to consciousness to evaluate the image from a distance you have the feeling it wasn't you who finalised it. The loss of control is an almost magical moment.
Sissa Micheli